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Why Are There Asian Australians Running As One Nation Candidates?

One Nation has endorsed a candidate in Western Australia who is from an Asian Australian background for the state’s upcoming election next month. You would think that after the Shan Ju Lin debacle, that would be the end of any candidates of an Asian heritage publicly running and supporting this political party, so please do not shoot the messenger when I say that this befuddles me. Asides from geo political stances and positions, there is no rational reason for any Asian Australian to run for a party which is shaded with strong undertones of racism and bigotry. Even the geo-political reasons are not an adequate excuse for being loud and proud One Nationers. Tshung Chang feels that One Nation and its leader Pauline Hanson have moved on from its 1996 anti-Asian platform rhetoric and is on the path of being “inclusive”. Chang who is contesting the WA Treasurer Mike Nahan’s seat of Riverton told the ABC in January that Pauline Hanson and her party have come a long way:

“Yes I do, I think that was the infamous speech, however that was I think 20, as you rightly said, 25 years ago and I think she’s actually become more and more experienced since then and the views back then are not reflective of what they are today because of her life experiences.”

“Pauline has got nothing against Asians, nothing against Asians that work hard, that come here and are good citizens.”

Image Via ABC News Online

There is not a lot online about Chang’s background, so I did some digging and found that he has his own international consultancy business and has a corporate career that spans twenty three years with leading financial services providers including NAB, QBE and Fitch Ratings. His passion is education (according to his political campaign page on Facebook) and his primary concerns and issues which he is standing firm on appear to be about finance and the economy. He states on his Facebook political campaign page:

“Everyone I talk to is worried about the financial mess that we are in and how the government squandered the boom with state debt out of control. West Australians rightly feel they have been ripped off for years, with only 30% of GST being returned to the state. The government has proved time and again it is incapable of doing anything about this.”

“PHON is the only chance I see to make a real difference, and I am incredibly proud to be given an opportunity to stand as a candidate against Dr. Nahan who was at the helm when WA lost its AAA credit rating and presided over the worst performing economy in the nation.”

“My international ratings agency experience gave me insights into restoring the states ratings and finances.”

So the question is why PHON? Why not join the LNP or the ALP or even run as an independent? Understandably, his frustrations are targeted at the Colin Barnett Liberal Government, but I don’t see how standing as a PHON candidate will allow him to impact on change? Considering there may be a PHON and WA Liberals preference deal, there is desperation on all sides to win the election in March. But moving away from the political games there is still no rational justification for Chang to run as a PHON candidate. So let’s analyse and assess Chang’s statements, because on the surface they appear to just be a typical assimilast approach and sounds pretty similar (but possibly a little more articulate) than Lin’s words. His statements about why he supports PHON are extremely problematic in that, he is willing to forgive and forget racism within the party which he plans to represent. Racist people don’t change their stripes, and this resentment within PHON is ingrained in the values and the agendas the political party runs on. His second point stating “…nothing against Asians that work hard, that come here and are good citizens.”… is extremely ignorant because why do Asian Australians need to work hard to be recognised in Australia? Are Asians the lower class of Australians which need to show hard work to earn their keep in Australia? Chang’s words as stated earlier are just a more articulate and smarter way of saying “Good Asians will like me and Pauline Hanson” ( Lin’s words).

A growing fear is that there are a growing number of Asian Australians who will vote for PHON. To see two Australians of Asian descent (with one who was dumped) running as candidates is quite telling of the ignorance within the community. We can laugh, make jokes and call them race traitors etc, but the issue is a lot more serious than the usual banter. So the question is why? Why do some Asian Australians feel proud to support PHON, knowing that it is built on racism and fear? Well if you think about it, it still goes back to geo-politics and the misconception of what it means to be a patriotic “Australian”. Many feel to run with the mainstream fear mongering is a show of patriotism, without an understanding of the history of Australian racism and oppression. Groups such as PHON and other “alt right” white supremacist type groups have publicly come out as “anti China” and this has earned the support of various Asian Australian diaspora groups whose roots are from Asian countries where China is seen as a “bully” of sorts. Many are unaware and ignorant that being anti a regime/Government does not give you a free pass to be anti an entire nation of people and they forget that this is essentially racism. In addition, in certain parts of Asia there is animosity towards Muslim Asians, and this is really as stated earlier all about geo-politics and the politics of blaming a group of people for the problems of a country. For many Asian migrants who have moved to Australia and who left countries which are dominated by Muslim Asians their anger is due to misunderstandings and how countries have misused religion for politics. The final reason which this piece will end on is that there are Asian Australians who are believe in the mainstream stereotypes of pure ignorance and lack an understanding of the intersectionality of race relations and its history in Australia.

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11 comments

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  1. Jaquix

    Because Asians are alright now. She had to have a more modern minority group to hate, and the Muslims fitted the bill. In another 20 years it will be some other group.

  2. Sijie Liang

    Can’t get over his name. 😛

  3. Tom

    Given how much of a mess the major parties have made in Australia I say good luck to Mr Chang and PHON. Not sure if I will vote for them but if they go some way towards destroying Lib-Lab then that would be a good result. Why the author thinks all Australians, including ‘Asian’ ones, owe an allegiance to the status quo is the question.

  4. Pat Garnet

    Oh dear Erin your message could be seen as mixed. Lets forget whether one is Asian, Asian Australian, or Australian. Until we drop the categorising of people we will never know who or what we are, or have become. I know a fifteen year old adopted Asian boy who we jokingly say “he doesn’t know he ‘s Asian”. This is not the forum to explain how this is so. People are human beings with similar brain mechanisms. Our childhood is no doubt what shapes who/what we become. Some have exactly the same opportunities borne to the same parents and act very differently. These are the simple facts of life. Ideally it would be great if we had an app to apply to people, so they will think the way we do. That would be great. Or would it? A question for another time. Most human beings are chasing rainbows and the few who catch one can often be disappointed. As for believing that whoever one votes for means democracy will prevail, can be greatly disappointed. When you have travelled the road I have, with all its twists and turns and believing Justice will be served, then being severely disappointed, you quickly realise it is the greatest MYTH of all.

  5. slowly they get it.

    at least the PHONy’s will draw out the other redneck racists so I know who not to invite into my home.

    These people are in perpetual search of an “other” to monster for their political gain, any “other” will do (insert religion/race here). These “candidates” are a lucky dip bag of the unpleasant undertones in our nation.

  6. Kaye Lee

    I would suggest that Chang, like Hanson and her band of miscreants, has seen a great way to make good easy bucks on the gravy train. Pauline needs a token Asian to show she isn’t racist any more. Except it isn’t working. The WA candidates seem to come from the scum at the bottom of the barrel.

    Richard Eldridge, a real estate agent contesting an upper house seat in the South Metropolitan region of Perth, called Muslims “little sheet heads”, derided gay relationships as “poo games” and advocated taking up arms against “extreme Muslims”. He seems to think that was ok because he used a fake name to make his comments.

    Michelle Myers came under the spotlight after claiming the gay community uses Nazi-style mind control to get people to support same sex marriage.

    And One Nation candidate David Archibald wrote an article for Quadrant in 2015, labelling single mothers too “lazy to attract and hold a mate”.

    What a disgusting bunch they are.

  7. totaram

    I would venture a more disturbing interpretation. There is a fundamental problem in the way humans think. We are fond of quick thinking short cuts, which worked very well in an evolutionary context, but in today’s tech-ruled world are much more likely to be wrong. Ditching that mode of thinking and actually being rational is very time-consuming and energy-intensive. Read Daniel Kahneman’s ” thinking fast and slow”. This is the cause of most of our problems. It makes it easy for politicians to bamboozle the average voter on any subject, with careful “framing” and enough repetition. Whether Chang is an opportunist or bamboozled is hard to say – possibly a little of both but enough to think that PHON is a party he should stand from.

    Given the opinion of Tom earlier, you can see my point. Separating out the issues and analysing what happened in the past and how we got to the present situation and what is the current difference in the policies of the two parties, is too hard. So just go for someone who will “do something different”. That’s how Trump was elected. Although in the case of PHON you can simply see that this party votes with the coalition almost every time, and the same is true of Xenophon. So if they do break up the Lib-lab duopoly what will they do that is different, aside from cosmetic changes? Not much in reality, but one can keep dreaming.

  8. jimhaz

    Perhaps WA parties are too racist or have enough more saleable candidates, to let him in. Unlike Hanson they don’t need him.

    I don’t think Hanson is as racist as people make out. She feels she is protecting Australia, not so much rejecting other people, other than muslims. Even with muslims she doesn’t mean the Turks etc who have been here many years.

    I sense that Asians (of the larger nations) are as culturally discriminatory (what the left calls racism) as white Australians.

    Perhaps the guy is motivated by being Australian and has formed conclusions that line up with Hansons views.

    My view is that Asians are conservative by nature, thus it doesn’t surprise me that a couple want a path in to politics via PHON. The far left makes it impossible for someone with a conservative value system to support.

    Or they might being paid to pretend to be fair dinkum candidates.

  9. Matters Not

    I sense that Asians … are as culturally discriminatory … as white Australians.

    Indeed they are. Why there’s even a technical name for it – ethnocentrism.

    Ethnocentrism is judging another culture solely by the values and standards of one’s own culture. Ethnocentric individuals judge other groups relative to their own ethnic group or culture, especially with concern for language, behavior, customs, and religion. These ethnic distinctions and subdivisions serve to define each ethnicity’s unique cultural identity. Ethnocentrism may be overt or subtle, and while it is considered a natural proclivity of human psychology, it has developed a generally negative connotation

    Ethnocentrism is common to all ‘cultures’, broadly defined. All individuals are ethnocentric to a greater or lesser degree. Part of being ‘educated’ is to recognise that and then there is a greater chance its effects can be lessened.

    People born into a particular culture that grow up absorbing the values and behaviors of the culture will develop a worldview that considers their culture to be the norm. If people then experience other cultures that have different values and normal behaviors, they will find that the thought patterns appropriate to their birth culture and the meanings their birth culture attaches to behaviors are not appropriate for the new cultures. However, since people are accustomed to their birth culture, it can be difficult for them to see the behaviors of people from a different culture from the viewpoint of that culture rather than from their own

    While ‘racism’ may be involved, it doesn’t have to be. Whites, raised in one culture can be very intolerant of other whites raised in a different culture. Same with ‘Africans’, ‘Asians’ and so on. Overcoming ethnocentric views takes time and effort. Very difficult for some to walk in the shoes of others.

  10. mralstoner

    China is the gold medalist in propaganda, and it’s quite possible they are planting Asians in the One Nation Party in an attempt to soften any anti-China sentiment there.

    Chinese influence is in our political parties, schools, universities, newspapers, Hollywood, sports teams, arts collaborations, etc. China has a Department of Propaganda to ensure the world sees China through a peaceful lense (while they goose step across the world).

    Just like Putin funds and influences right-wing parties across Europe, in order to curry favour with them, so China does the same in this region.

    I don’t know for sure about these two candidates, but planting candidates to quell anti-China sentiment is more than possible, it’s very likely that China would do it.

    China wants to control the world, the same way it controls its own population. Ruthless supression is in the CCP’s character. Censorship and control is its nature, and there are now no geographical boundaries to limit their reach. China wants to control you like it controls its own population.

  11. mralstoner

    The other expanation is that Shan Ju is Sinophobic (or CCP phobic, more accurately): “I feel the Chinese Communist Party is a great threat to Australia” she said:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-21/one-nation-candidate-shan-ju-lin-defends-pauline-hanson/8135684

    This makes sense. If Shan Ju comes from Taiwan, and practices Falun Gong, she has every right to fear the CCP. And if Pauline is the only party who recognises the threat, then she is right to join them, unless a better alternative appears e.g. Cory Bernardi.

    What choice is there when mainstream politicians prostrate themselves before China and will sell the entire country off, if not for public outrage?

    The coming influence of China will be so huge, that all political distinctions will fade away and Australian politics will divide into two spheres: Sinophiles v. Sinophobes.

    When China has kicked America out of the region (which is likely to happen soon), there will be nothing stopping their influence in Australia. And racial distinctions wont matter a jot when the spectre of Chinese rule hovers over us.

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